Do All Lives Really Matter?

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Despite the complex ethical and social aspects of such a broad question, the answer is simple.

As you have probably seen, the Black Lives Matter movement has had a growing presence with the start of a new election cycle and claimed acts of institutionalized racism against the African American community. There have been many Black Lives Matter demonstrations all across the world and, as expected, many subsequent criticisms of the movement. Many of these criticisms are grounded within All Lives Matter, a countermovement intended to denounce Black Lives Matter. But as depicted by the title of this article, I have a question: do all lives really matter?

Many argue All Lives Matter but surprisingly disregard the video of a five-year-old Syrian child being pulled from rubble after an Aleppo airstrike (watch here) [1]. Many argue All Lives Matter but ignore the fact that 1.1 billion people have inadequate access to water [2]. Many argue All Lives Matter but don’t acknowledge that 15 million children are orphaned each year due to HIV/AIDS [3].

The timelines of social movements are also beneficial to explaining the answer to this question—no one said #AllLivesMatter until we said #BlackLivesMatter, no one said #StraightPride until we said #GayPride, and no one said #Meninism until we said #Feminism. For every single push for equality, it seems there has to be a countermovement. Even in far history, we see this recurring theme of counteracting and mocking movements in order to decrease their impact.

When these movements successfully make progress, they almost always encourage countermovement mobilization. This unfortunate paradox shows that these people really don’t care—all lives don’t matter, straight pride is nonexistent, and meninism is a fabrication. All we care about is maintaining the status quo in the world; we want it in our favor and will do whatever it takes to make sure it doesn’t change, even if it strips the rights of others. As a result, this cyclic process makes it exceedingly difficult to advance shared sociopolitical ideas.

In addition, mass media feeds the emergence of these countermovements as journalists seek these opposing interests. Throughout the 20th century in the United States, abortions were frequently performed by physicians yet discussion of the procedure was minimal; however, with the advent of mass media in the 1960s, those against abortion were able to disseminate information using television stations and local radios as a conduit [4]. Anti-abortion legislation can also be seen as backlash against the growing push for birth control and suffrage in history: a way for women to be confined to their childbearing roles in society [5].

So, if you truly believe all lives matter, show me. Go out and raise funds for these causes. Participate in charity events in your community. Organize protests to make your opinion heard. Spearhead the movement—your movement. Make all lives matter.

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